National Vinegar Month…Coq Au Vin(V) and with a chook…

We are nearing the end of National vinegar month and what better way to end it with a Coq Au Vin made using Balsamic Vinegar…Coq Au Vin is a classic French dish and there are many versions and many cooks who think theirs is the most authentic and the best…

However, it is all down to taste…individual taste…some add carrots some don’t…

Take wine, shallots, mushrooms some aromatics and a chook…

Ingredients:

  • 25g butter
  • 150g shallots, peeled but left whole
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150g bacon lardons
  • A sprig of fresh thyme or a good pinch of dried thyme.
  • 350g button mushrooms…Chestnut or Crimini are my favourites.
  • 500ml good red wine…I love a nice burgundy.
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 free-range chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces, on the bone but skin removed (or 6 chicken thighs)
  • A small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly crushed black pepper.

Let’s Cook!

Using a thick bottomed pan heat it on the stove, add almost all the butter (reserving a knob of the butter) and the shallots. Cook until just browned; add the lardons and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes then add the garlic cook for a further 1-2 mins.

Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat and add the red wine, chicken stock and vinegar. Add the chicken pieces, bring the sauce to the boil and then simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

For a thicker sauce, remove the chicken once it is cooked and keep warm. Cook the sauce over high heat for a few minutes until the volume of liquid has reduced. Return the chicken back to the pan.

Add the parsley, together with the reserved knob of butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with a dressed green salad and olive oil, new potatoes (my favourite) mash or crusty bread.

For my vegetarian and vegan readers...I found this lovely recipe on my vegan plate...Enjoy!

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

Mushrooms...One of my favourite and I could quite happily live on mushrooms to know that they are packed with numerous health benefits is a bonus…Thanks to Sally she has given us the lowdown on all the benefits of eating mushrooms and has also shared one of my earlier posts from the cook from scratch series which has some delicious mushroom recipes even though I say it myself…If you forage please know your mushrooms it is most important as many of them look similar to edible mushrooms and they may not be…So click the link below which will take you to Sally’s post…Enjoy!

via Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Mushrooms – The Egyptians believed they granted immortality

Whimsical Wednesday…CarolCooks2…

Hello and welcome… I would like to say that here on Whimsical Wednesdays it is a Corona free zone but this sneaky virus has crept into every single aspect of our lives…Awake or asleep it is there…It dominates the headlines and our thoughts…It invokes great sadness but also great joy…and a smidgen of hope…My focus is coming out the other side with hope in my heart for much-needed changes…

We are in unprecedented times…

Pigs...I love a bit of pork crackling…I mean most people do…I make the perfect Pork Crackling and can often be found shrieking at the screen when someone is trying to make pork crackling and failing…turn the oven up and leave it alone…Perfect Pork Crackling…

Way back in the spring of 1866, the American General Grant struck the western cliffside of Auckland Island, a remote, subantarctic mass of rocky land in the middle of the South Pacific. Shipwrecked and trapped inside a rocky cavern, the ship began its fateful plunge into the frigid water, dragging most of its passengers down with it. Things looked bleak for the few who survived—the uninhabited island was often plagued by severe winds, heavy downpours, and harsh cold spells. But the castaways benefited from an unexpected resource that helped keep the majority of them alive for 18 months until their eventual rescue. Deep in the forest lay a herd of long-haired, narrow-faced pigs—or rather, strange, precious island pork….Crackling!

Today, well over a century later, as many as 1,000 of these pigs still roam along the misty shoreline, thrusting their narrow snouts into the earth to find edible roots, flipping beach stones in search of fly larvae, and devouring the occasional whale carcass that’s been washed ashore. “They’ve adapted well,” remarks Michael Willis, director of Rare Breeds International and founder of Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. At his Christchurch nature reserve, Willis cares for a small group of Auckland Island pigs that have been scooped from the edge of the world and transplanted onto mainland New Zealand. “Their tails are hairy, their ears are hairy, and some have a bit of a down on them to stay warm.”

wild boar

Scrappy, agile, and, according to Willis, “good-natured things,” they’re incredible creatures that were never supposed to exist. It was not only pigs but rabbits, goats and also cats..it is the pigs however who are decimating other species on the island…They eat the plant roots, albatross eggs, and penguins. They all but forced white-capped mollymawks into breeding in the island’s steep cliffs, after tossing adult birds from their nests and devouring their eggs and small chicks. According to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC), they’re largely responsible for the disappearance of over 30 native bird species from the island. I don’t know what the answer is…But I do hope a solution can be found one which protects all of the biodiversity of these islands.

Nature is wonderful but it can also be destructive I don’t know what the answer is but it seems to be causing Pig Wars…

While we are on the subject of pigs...on this day back in 1933 Walt Disneys released …3 Little Pigs…who didn’t and doesn’t love that film???

Ahhhh that revived some memories of watching watching this as a child and with little ones…A timeless film as are most Disney Films loved by generations …

Let’s have a tune...some music…my music tastes are very varied and my starting point today was top ten bands…No 1…The Beatles..now while I think some of their tunes are catchy I was never a great Beatles fan…I prefer heavier rock bands…Music with a bit of soul or grit…What’s your musical preference?

Early May in 1977 the Sex Pistols released God Save the Queen…on the 31st May it was BANNED( no surprises) there from being played on the BBC for “gross bad taste”

A week after “God Save the Queen” was banned, the group played a show on a boat going down the River Thames. The Sex Pistols performed “Anarchy in the UK” when the boat passed the British Parliament…

Do you think it should have been banned?

I much prefer Van Halen…

Nice and lively and gets you foot tapping…

Not  many things surprise me…Dogs Roasted Sweet Potato Stall is manned by yes you have it an adorable 3 year old dog named Ken-Kun…

How adorable is that ?

Spirit Houses are very popular here and every home and business has one they cold highly ornate or just a small shrine Most of them have one thing in common…Bottles of Red Fanta…Nam Dang which means red water is the spirit drink of choice ..Ni one really knows why it could be the colour as Thais like bright colours.

It does explain why  Thailand is 4th biggest market for fanta ahead of China and the USA…You will see offering of anything from a full meal, a plate of fruit , Strawberry fanta complete with a straw…all lovingly offered…

Trees are also very special here and you may also come across a tree gaily adorned with ribbons and silk scarves…a spirit tree…

The spirit tree we saw at Wat Kam Sanot a temple near my home the spirit house is the one from my home in Phuket…Here in Udon Thani there is no spirit house in the garden but I have a prayer room in my bedroom which was used in the same way..it has a buddha, vases of flowers and candles but no red fanta.

An ancient Hat from the Song dynasty has been given a revival..By schoolchildren…

Maybe politicians and news reporters should be wearing them to stop their Chinese whispers…

For those of you who eat eggs...They will never be the same again…This Japanese mum specialises in food art…This is one to get your kiddie to eat his egg…

https://www.odditycentral.com/art/japanese-mom-specializes-in-deliciously-cute-fried-egg-art.html#more-69870

How cool are they?

Thats it for now..I didn’t manage to delete the post this week….Thank you for reading I look forward to your comments xx

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘J’ for Jelly Beans, Jalapenos, Jack Fruit and Jerky all with a little Jus

Time for the letter J…I am enjoying reading it again myself for the second time. Many thanks to the lovely Sally for rerunning this series…I hope you all enjoy the Letter J….From Jelly Beans to Jalapenos and Jackfruit….xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs over the year.

This week in the A-Z of food it is the letter J

I hope you are enjoying this series of the A-z of food as much as I have the research and writing.

Starting with one of my favourite little sweeties the Jelly Bean…

Jelly Beans are primarily made of sugar with a jelly inside a candy shell…There are some awesome flavours…Tabasco Flavour, Chilli Mango, Marguerita and some beautiful fruity flavours…Cringe-worthy flavours like Earthworm, Earwax and vomit are for me a No No! But I suppose for Halloween revellers they will be on someone’s list…

Jelly:

Depending on where in the world you live Jelly can be a wibbly wobbly fruit jelly made with…

View original post 1,719 more words

National Vinegar Month…Chinese Black Vinegar…

Originating in the city of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, it is quite literally black in colour and has a full-bodied, malty, complex taste. It is just mildly acidic, less so than a regular distilled white vinegar, with a faintly sweet flavour I hesitantly tasted a little as some vinegar can be quite acidic this was not… It had a slight smoky after taste I liked it.

Chinese black vinegar is widely used in Chinese cooking for all types of cold appetizers, braised meats and fish, noodles and as a dipping condiment for dumplings.

Also known as brown rice vinegar, black vinegar is used as a tonic in Chinese and Japanese cultures. It is made by fermenting unpolished rice, wheat, sorghum or millet. The vinegar ferments for 1 to 3 years and it is during the fermentation process that the colour of black vinegar darkens, its aroma and flavour get more intense and the content of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients increases.

Because black vinegar is believed to have many health benefits, many people in China and Japan make a drink out of it that they consume as a part of their daily diet.

Because black vinegar produces good-tasting substances while maturing, it is “easy to drink even for people who have difficulty drinking ordinary vinegar.” Black vinegar is also said to contain more amino acid than ordinary vinegar.

smart

Black vinegar is rich in a number of essential nutrients. Some of these nutrients help in the detoxification of the body. This rich vinegar also keeps the pH levels in your body well-balanced.

According to health experts, black vinegar helps in keeping the digestive system healthy. It aids in the improvement of digestion. When digestion is improved, you keep constipation and other abdominal problems away.

Substitutions for Black Vinegar:

If you can’t find black vinegar, you can substitute white rice vinegar/rice wine vinegar, which is usually more readily available, even in regular supermarkets.

It is also said, you can substitute a bit of balsamic vinegar, though be careful because some balsamic vinegar can be very syrupy and sweet.

Personally, I would opt for the black vinegar having tasted it and I am pleased that I waited until it was delivered. We all loved the Braised pork shoulder in black vinegar which as you know was the first time I had cooked with it…

Having tasted it though I also recognise the taste and have connected the dots that it is the dipping sauce we have had with dumplings…which I always thought was some sort of soy sauce.

Dumplings

My next two dishes I am going to try with be vegetable/vegan one will be a side dish of Cucumber…This delicious, cooling salad with a sweet edge helps to counter the chilli in very spicy dishes.

cucumbers-1588945_640

Ingredients:

  • 2/4 cucumbers depending on their size…Thai cucumbers are small but for this, I am going to use Japanese cucumbers as they are crispier and do not have as many seeds.
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 100ml Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Chinese light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh black fungi, torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Let’s Cook!

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways then, using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut them into large, angled chunks. In a bowl, dissolve castor sugar in the black vinegar and soy sauce then whisk in oil, garlic and ginger. Check to season.

Dress the cucumber and black fungi, coating well. Serve on a shared plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

cucumber black vinegar and black mushrooms

 

This dish comes together very quickly, so remember to prepare the sauce first in a mixing bowl before you start cooking. This is a very nice sauce…my testers were not keen on the mushrooms I liked them…

This second side dish a stir fry is using the stalks of the Chinese/napa cabbage only…as you know I use every part of an ingredient that I can, for example, I use the broccoli stalk sliced or in a stir fry it is a lovely vegetable…I will let you know later on in the week how this one turned out.

brocolli stems sliced

likewise, the stalk of Chinese cabbage is often wasted…cut away…I use this stir-fried as it has a little crunch and to use the leaves they wilt and add water which we don’t like… this stir fry is better with just the stalks and the napa cabbage leaves make another meal… They’re great in soups or just stir-fried with a little garlic and salt…Waste not want not…

For the sauce: 

  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

For the rest of the dish: 

  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 3-6 dried red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 pound napa cabbage (stems only, sliced at an angle?
  • Salt, to taste

Start by making the sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. In another small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tbsp of water to make a slurry. Set aside. (Remember, cornstarch settles quickly, so remember to stir the slurry again before adding it to the dish later).

Is it just me or does anyone else dislike the feel when the cornstarch settles?

Heat the oil in a wok over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, chillies, and green onion, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and turn up the heat to high. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Now add the prepared sauce and cook for another minute. Taste before you season with salt I generally don’t add salt as for us the soy sauce is salty enough. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and stir-fry for one more minute, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve this hot and sour napa cabbage stir-fry with steamed rice as a light snack or as a side with the main dish.

Isn’t stir-frying great? A dish can come together in 5 minutes! Enjoy!

I will giv youour opinion on this srir fry I am making this tomorrow.

Thats all for today I hope you are enoying the recipes with blackn vinegar…

smart

black vinegar

About Carol Taylor: 

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

 

Recycling and Climate Change…25th May 2020…and Covid-19…

Hello and welcome to this weeks edition of recycling and climate change news from around the world. Covid-19 is still dominating the news… many countries now are relaxing their quarantines and already some are seeing an increase in new cases I am guessing it is not over yet…But we soldier on…

But what about the climate how has the coronavirus slashed carbon emissions?

carbon co2 planet-4880337_640

Near-real-time data on carbon emissions reveal the sectors, countries and events that had the most impact, but it is unclear how long the dip will last.

I know I keep saying this but science fascinates me…Take this for example… Cyber spinach turns sunlight into sugar…There’s a new way to eat carbon dioxide. 

Spinach

This is the only spinach I know...Cyber spinach…How cool is that???…. Further down the line just think what possibilities could open up…

Well…I doubt whether I will ever get a ride in one of these unless my grandsons treat me for my 100th Birthday…Time to save up guys…haha

Air taxis…they are upcoming all over the world in big cities…They are electric all fuel and carbon singing and dancing pieces of equipment.

There are so many innovative schemes to turn waste and trash into something good and no you still need to practise restraint and eat nose to tail and compost when you can…

Lancaster, California will be home to a “greener than green” trash-to hydrogen production plant three times the size of any other green H2 facility. SGH2 says its process is the cleanest of all on the market while matching the price of the cheapest producers – and pulling tens of thousands of tons of garbage out of landfills.

How cool is that?

Bikes are big business in Asia and I know many bikers also in the UK including my two sons and grandsons… boys and their toys…I wonder what my bike mad boys will think of this…

Pre-ordering now!

Sorry ladies...Let’s find some pretties…

I think this lovely…Let’s do a big Awwwww

I hope you enjoyed this…x

With the weather forecast in many places set to be hot...How about making your own outdoor movie theatre…

You will need as the very basics some garden chairs and a portable projector…and a creative imagination…

  • A washing line or two poles
  • 1 large white sheet
  • Lanterns
  • Comfy cushions, blankets and warm throws
  • Outdoor fairy lights
  • A projector to view films
  • An extension cord to reach the nearest plug

To create your outdoor cinema, follow these steps…

To begin with, find the right spot in your garden. Whether you have raised decking or a spacious lawn, consider where you want to set up your outdoor cinema first. You’ll also need to make sure it’s close enough to the nearest plug. An alternative idea is to use a tent for a snug and cosy film screening. This is especially ideal if it’s cooler at night.

Next, hang a large white sheet over two poles or a washing line, or if it’s a tent, you can attach using some pegs. Ensure the sheet is large enough for the projection.

 Set up your portable projector to ensure everything is in working order, and check it will work against the white sheet.

 Now it’s time to decorate! If in the garden, hang some outdoor fairy lights or festoon lights just above your sheet to create ambience. You can also place decorative garden lanterns or battery-powered candles on the ground for added atmosphere.

Next, create your seating area using outdoor cushions, blankets and cosy throws. If you’re watching with children, they might want to add a few toys, too. Deck chairs and garden sun loungers also provide a comfortable spot to relax.

Finally, grab your favourite snacks and decide on a film. Then sit back and enjoy!

Or invest in one of these portable screens…

So come on get creative, have some fun, watch some great movies and send me some photos…

You could even repurpose an unused kids trampoline…

Imagine lounging on one of those watching a movie with fairy lights twinkling…

That’s all for today…I will leave you with these thoughts because there is light at the end of the tunnel we are just not sure when…

After the Covid-19 crisis will we get a greener world? I am sure this is a question many people are asking… the cleaner air, burgeoning urban wildlife, and our sudden, dramatic shift to a less carbon-intensive lifestyle reveals the scope of what we can achieve in just days. This is something to cling to as we navigate the twin storms of Covid-19 and climate. We know that the climate crisis will not wait for a more convenient time; we must deal with it and the pandemic crisis concurrently.

We are experiencing behavioural changes, some of which may be ingrained within us permanently…travel and consumption patterns have in the main become more responsible – they are helpful in reducing pollution, just as hand-washing helps in the pandemic. But what the expected 8% emissions reduction figure shows us is that individual action – driving your car less, attending a meeting via Zoom rather than taking a business flight – is not going to be enough.

Equally, it shows that moving to a no-growth economy is not the answer, as some have argued. Instead, systemic transformative action is required at international and state level to get the effective reductions in atmospheric carbon that will bring us to net zero.

My hope for the future is a cleaner world… I do want to see communities, and caring for your neighbour becoming the new norm…WORKING TOGETHER INSTEAD OF WORKING AGAINST EACH OTHER…Can we make this happen? Are we willing to make a stand? Personally, I would love to see lessons learnt ..realistically I have my doubts…

Thank you for reading be well and stay safe xxx

About Carol Taylor: Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all stay safe and healthy xx

 

 

 

 

A busy week from Sally…Lots of music, books, guests and not forgetting the funnies…That parrot reminds me of our Percy…God bless him..Great advice from Sally regarding our health and diet…I have been inhaling and exhaling this week like a good girl…

Without any further ado head over to Sally’s …Enjoy!

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 17th – 23rd May 2020 – Rainbow Fairies, Sound of Music, Books, Guests and Funnies